Yesterday I quietly celebrated four years of being alcohol free. But it’s more than abstaining. It’s about being sober. Being happy, joyous and free.
Once I stopped drinking four years ago, I looked at the little pill I swallowed every night (and had for 18 years) and thought. I don’t need this. Why do I take it? I started tapering off and the rest is history. Much of that history recorded on this blog.
I drank mostly at night. It started as a glass of wine with dinner. Over the years that became two. Then three. Some day’s I’d have a glass of wine with lunch, and drink the rest of the bottle at dinner, sipping almost until bedtime. My friends and family didn’t think of me as an alcoholic, but I sure knew I couldn’t get past five pm with out a glass of wine. There were so many mornings I’d wake up fuzzy and think, “I am not drinking tonight.” But of course, that promise dissolved by the time happy hour rolled around. The fact that I could not stop drinking even though I wanted to, was a huge red flag.
I’m grateful for my sobriety. Even though I had to go through the utter nightmare of benzo withdrawal to get clean and sober, I am happy I am no longer dependant on a Merlot or a Malbec or a Klonopin to ease my anxieties. I face life on life’s terms. I am a much better person than I was years ago. Much, much, better. I am understanding the meaning of real joy. I am able to face my feelings and stay with them, without letting them knock me down. That wasn’t something I had the ability to do way back when they put me on a benzo. I was far too emotionally fragile. Not now. I’ve been forged in the fire baby!
If you are still in the thick of it all, please find ways to distract. Just get through today. It DOES get better. I am having much better days. That horrible wave that kicked up last summer is 90% gone. Life is sweet. I wake up excited to be working at rebuilding my career. The body symptoms can still be a nuisance but I’ve learned to accommodate them. I know one day, they too, will go away. There won’t be much left to remind me that I lived through this nightmare except for this blog. And the tinnitus. Hunch is it’s permanent.
Four years booze free! It’s a new life. It’s a brand new chance. I’m taking it! I’m gonna run as far as God will let me run with it.
Everyone keep healing. Keep holding on to hope.